Sometimes you need to have an out-at-the-warehouse, music-is-the-answer, oh-god-that’s-sunrise kind of evening. Fellow seasoned ravers know that the types of experiences that push us outside of our comfort zone can be truly magical. Much to our dismay, so many of our friends who have day jobs, go to PTA meetings, and play it safe will stare at you in horror if you say you want to go to an afterhours. Depending on how many uninitiated you have with you, squinting at addresses, trudging through dark sidewalks in shady neighborhoods with your friends wondering where you’ve taken them is simply impossible.
For the discerning listener, the other end of the spectrum is equally as mortifying. Play your cards wrong, and you’re going to end up with another fucking night at Bottled Blonde. Your night will consist of open-format, douchebros, basic bitches, and no soul. This simply will not do. Where is the accessible middle ground, Goldilocks?
For the past three years, Afterlife has been roaming around the Chicago scene as a series of one-off dance parties. Originally started as a side project of the promoters, United2nite, the event briefly found a home at Grand Bar, but has since become a weekly Saturday at recently opened Annex in Wicker Park. True to its tagline, “Come as you are, be who you are,” Afterlife does not have a dress code or overly intrusive bouncers at the door. Located at the busy intersection of Milwalkee/North/Damen, the venue is equipped with: a truly first-rate lighting system, ample split level dance space, three bars, and plenty of seating away from the full force of the sound system as well. Afterlife brings dome of the open atmosphere of an underground event to Saturday night at the club. At least that’s what their marketing tells you.
Like any self-respecting journalist, I attended a few shows to find out for myself. I was lucky enough to catch a killer set by Sharam Jey. Several of his signature tracks, including ‘Bass’, were spun shaping the set like clay on a potter’s wheel. Just as everything got smoothly disco comfortable, harpsichord samples were dropped from above followed by an operatic piece that spun into a build.
The residents did not leave anything to be desired either. The Dj’s tend to lean toward: House, NuDisco, and Deep House with residents: Kings of Class, Nikho, GoodSex, and Dangerwayne. Each of the DJ’s were quite in tune with the crowd. Similar lo-fi R&B sampling included in several sets added a nice set of codas to the evening. My takeaway: you don’t have to go to church to have a great Afterlife!
This weekend, you can catch Nikho, Goodsex, Shut em Down, Stevenson Robers, Danny Digable, Delusive, and Gianni Blu. Doors open at 10:00 PM and they throw you out at 5:00 AM. Prepare to pay $10 after midnight and get in free if you show up early. Stay in tune with their upcoming events on their facebook page.